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KOOPMANS TRIAL: Accused had no ill will toward shooting victim: Friend

The final witness in the John Koopmans murder trial was heard in Penticton courthouse today.
Image Credit: istock photo
March 31, 2015 - 2:47 PM

PENTICTON - The last witness in the John Koopmans murder trial said he’d never seen the accused show any ill will towards victim Keith Wharton.

Robert Hart, a friend of Koopmans, testified if Koopmans had guns, he was unaware of it, calling him an “even-tempered man” who he had never seen angry.

The double murder trial of John Koopmans wrapped up testimony with Tuesday morning’s witness. Koopmans is charged with second degree murder in the shooting deaths of Keith Wharton and Rose Fox, and attempted murder for wounding Bradley Martin on a rural property near Princeton in March, 2013.

Under questioning from Crown Prosecutor Frank Dubenski, Hart admitted Koopmans was a “hoarder.”

“He sees value in old parts, rare parts and collects metal. He’ll pick up something useful if he considers it a bargain,” Hart said.

Hart admitted he had no idea Koopmans ever owned a .357 handgun.

“Are you surprised to know he had a handgun? That he hid in the rafters when he lived in Langley?” asked Dubenski.

“Yes, I guess,” answered Hart, who also admitted to being surprised to hear Dubenski say Koopmans sold drugs to Keith Wharton.

Hart said Koopmans originally thought Wharton had something to do with a February break in on Koopmans' property, but had never demonstrated ill will towards Wharton in his presence.

Hart also described an incident on Koopmans' Highway 5A property where he shot a squirrel with a large calibre rifle.

“Did he kill it?” asked Dubenski.

“I assume so. He was a good shot,” replied Hart.

Defence lawyer Don Skogstad asked Hart if Koopmans was “disappointed" with Keith Wharton at the end of March, 2013.

“I would say not,” said Hart.

Justice Miriam Maisonville advised the jury they were on standby until Tuesday next week, when closing arguments are expected to begin.

To read past stories on the Koopman murder trial, please click here.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad at sarstad@infonews.ca or call 250-488-3065. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015
InfoTel News Ltd

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